Addition to yesterday's post

Yesterday I wrote about a minor detail of tiny small units in the infantry, in an attempt to point out the human aspect and how it deserves more attention relative to hardware than it gets.

Today I like to put the infantry-centric post into perspective using two quotes from a1950's book about lessons learned in the Russian campaign 1943-1945*:

Ein Charakteristikum der meisten abgechlagenen Angriffe des vergangenen Krieges ist, daß sie bereits 200 bis 400 m vor den vordersten Verteidigungsanlagen abgeschlagen wurden. Den entscheidenden Anteil hieran hatte meist die Artillerie.
(A characteristic of most defeated assaults of the last war is that they were defeated 200 to 400 m ahead of the forward line of own troops already. The decisive share of this had most often the artillery.)**

This quote gains additional potency by an earlier quote:
Das Bekämpfen feindlicher Bereitstellungen durch "Gegenfeuerschläge" hatte bei der russischen Eigenart, die Angriffstruppen dicht geballt in den Angriffsvornächten vorzuführen, eine außergewöhnliche Wirkung in allen Großkämpfen im Osten der Jahre 1943 bis 1945. Der Munitionseinsatz hierfür übertraf sehr oft den des eigentlichen feindlichen Angriffstage; wie Gefangene häufig bestätigt haben, waren die Verluste hierbei wesentlich höher, als bei dem Angriff selbst. Zahlreiche Angriffe sind durch diese "Gegenfeuerschläge" bereits in der Bereitstellung zerschlagen worden.

(The fires on hostile marshalling areas by 'counter fires strikes' had given the Russian peculiarity to mass the assault troops in the night before the assault an extraordinary effect in all major battles in the East of the years 1943 till 1945. The ammunition expenditure for this very often exceeded the one on the actual day of the offensive. The casualties due to this were considerably higher than during the assault itself, as prisoners confirmed often. Many attacks have been broken during the marshalling phase already.)**

Granted, this was from an era of defended front lines instead of all-motorized forces facing each other in meeting engagements or cautious manoeuvres.
It's still a reminder that infantry is but a small cog wheel in a much greater machine. The attention it typically receives in the public is blown out of proportion - and this includes the output in this blog.
Infantry is of central interest in civil wars, but of much lesser interest in a national or collective (alliance) defence scenario.


*: "Taktik im Russlandfeldzug", Eike Middeldorf, E.S.Mittler & Sohn GmbH, p.141 and 165
**: My translation

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